A chef at the Opasły Tom restaurant which has recently opened in a new location in Wierzbowa Street 9. A daughter of Tessa Capponi-Borawska. She has polished her culinary skills in Florence (Cibréo, Teatro del Sale, Cibréo Caffé), London (Le Cordon Bleu) and Copenhagen (Noma).
Opasły Tom is run by females: Olga Kręglicka is a manager, Maria Przybyszewska is responsible for vegan menu and Natalia Stankiewicz is a sommelier. They offer cuisine with a modern twist and wines from our region of Europe. They stock with the best food producers and sellers at the Forteca Kręgliccy.
Is Opasły Tom some kind of a feminist manifesto?
– No, it wasn’t intended. However, there is something extraordinary in this situation because women in gastronomy are still discriminated and less well paid.
Have you ever encountered such discrimination?
– Of course, on numerous occasions. Up till now some of my friends look at me with disbelief what this little blondie is capable of. But I have mostly dealt with mobbing which was even psychologically unbearable for men.
The atmosphere in the kitchen is similar to that in the army. Tension is high. There is this rule in the best Michelin-starred restaurants that you have to break people to make them work better. However, mobbing is unacceptable. I oppose such practices. Fortunately, I have a feeling that I am in the position that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Come, eat, and decide for yourself.
You are a very family person. Four siblings. You are close. Did you always know you wanted to cook?
– I certainly knew I liked eating. We have always cooked together. Our heritage is recipes. My grandmother – half Italian, half Greek – is a phenomenal cook, her sister was too. Herring which is in our menu now is made according to the recipe of my grandfather Ludwik. My great grandmother left a notebook full of recipes, which I am deciphering now because they are written in several languages.
Did your great grandmother use to cook as well?
– No, she didn’t. Her husband was a diplomat, and she was a gourmet. She had an excellent palate which she trained in the best restaurants. When a waiter used to come with a meal she already knew what was wrong with a dish. When she was hiring a cook he had to prepare a steak and an omelet. That was the best test according to her.
In your family, women rule not only in the kitchen. What did you take after
– After my mother – sensitivity to food. We can both commit completely to it. My grandmother Flavia has also taught me not to be easily deceived and have my own opinion. If it is necessary I keep my feet on the ground.
And when it comes to my great grandmother – Jesus Christ, I would like to have her
Interview: Agnieszka Kowalska
Photos: Aga Bilska